Saints draftees start their new life
Tom Lynch lives around the corner from St Kilda and has always supported the AFL club. Alistair Smith’s flight from Perth on Tuesday to his new home was only the third time he has visited Melbourne.
The backgrounds of the Saints’ six new recruits are a microcosm of the randomness and massive changes involved in the national draft.
Lynch was the Saints’ first pick at No.13 and had the look on Wednesday of an 18-year-old who knows he is living his dream, in every possible way.
Asked what player number he might have, Lynch smiled and replied it would definitely be at the high end of the locker room.
That prompted one journalist to joke that he might receive No.35 – worn by newly-retired club legend Robert Harvey.
“I think they should retire that number,” Lynch then said, without much humour in his voice at all.
Smith, also 18, comes from the WA country town of Northam, outside of Perth, and he is boarding with a host family.
“It’s very hard, especially for me, because I’m from the country – I normally wait for the sun to come up, I couldn’t see that in the morning,” he said.
Nick Heyne is also from the country, but as a Gippsland native he has plenty of company on the St Kilda list.
The Gippsland contingent at Moorabbin includes established players Jason Gram and Brendon Goddard.
Regardless of his background, each youngster who joins an AFL club soon has his concept of pain redefined.
“It’s been great – Tuesday, I could hardly walk, I spent a lot of time in the ice baths,” Heyne said.
“Tom, Colm (Begley) and I were down here on Monday and Tom and I did about 20 minutes of fartlek running, then we had a weights session in the afternoon, so I was a bit sore all over.”
The Saints took Begley, the former Brisbane player from Ireland, with the last pick of the draft.
Rhys Stanley and Paul Cahill, their other draftees, are from South Australia.
Stanley also has a local connection at the Saints – like Sam Fisher, he hails from the Riverland.© AAP 2013
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